(1) The shorter version of a letter by the American Hellenic Media Project, as published by the Orlando Sentinel on May 4, 1999;
(2) The longer version of the letter submitted; and
(3) The original article by Sentinel reporter Charley Reese.
(For "fair use" and educational purposes only)
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
May 4, 1999
CHARLEY REESE'S April 25 column offered rare insight into our news media's demonization of Serbians. Yet another insight into the Kosovo tragedy can be gleaned from one of our least understood North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
What best distinguishes Greek foreign policy from that of its neighbors is that Greece had long ago renounced all territorial claims -- this despite the fact that large Hellenic populations still live outside Greece's borders.
It is this forward-thinking approach that best explains why Greece's Turkish minority is enjoying greater religious, political and economic freedoms in a Christian Orthodox nation than their co-religionists in other Balkan and Mideast countries, including Turkey itself. This is also why Greece's Muslims are among the most politically stable minorities in the region despite Turkey's efforts to incite unrest.
This lesson in regional stability -- respecting minority rights within the framework of the inviolability of national borders -- has been urged by the Greek government since the start of Yugoslavia's breakup. It is our own government's failure to heed this prudent advice that is most responsible for the Yugoslavian holocaust.
American Hellenic Media Project
NEW YORK, N.Y.
American Hellenic Media Project
P.O. Box 1150
New York, N.Y. 10028-0008
Via fax & e-mail: (407) 420-5286
April 26, 1999
To the Editor of The Orlando Sentinel:
Charley Reese’s commentary ("Serbs are also victims -- of a massive propaganda campaign", April 25) offered a rare glimpse into what insiders know are the true motives behind our Yugoslavia campaign. There is however another lesson that can be learned before Albright et al are allowed to make an even bigger mess of our foreign policy, and this from one of our least understood, and much criticized, NATO allies.
What has most distinguished Greek foreign policy from that of its Balkan neighbors, and from Turkey in particular, is that Greece had long ago renounced all territorial claims -- this despite the fact that large Hellenic populations have lived outside Greece’s present national borders since antiquity and continue to do so.
It is this progressive live-and-let-live approach that best explains why Greece’s thriving Muslim and Turkish minorities are enjoying greater religious, political and economic freedoms in a Christian Orthodox nation than their co-religionists in other Balkan and Mideast countries, including Muslim Turkey. This is also why Greece’s Muslims are among the most peaceable and politically stable minorities in the region despite Turkey’s efforts to incite unrest.
This lesson in regional stability -- respecting minority rights within the framework of the inviolability of national borders -- has been urged by the Greek government since the start of Yugoslavia’s breakup. And not just to secessionist-minded Albanians, Croatians and Bosnians. Our own government’s failure to heed this prudent advice -- from a peoples who have had centuries more experience in the intricacies of Balkan geopolitics than our own Rambo-minded Secretary of State -- is what has arguably triggered this latest Yugoslavian holocaust.
Very truly yours,
P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.
The American Hellenic Media Project is a non-profit organization created to address inaccuracy and bias in the media and encourage independent, ethical and responsible journalism.
THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
April 25, 1999
Serbs are also victims -- of a massive propaganda campaign
by Charley Reese
The Serbs, as Slobodan Milosevic said on American television, are not angels, but neither are they devils. They are also the victims of a massive anti-Serbian propaganda campaign.
Starting with the civil wars, Serbs have been blamed for things they never did while atrocities committed by Croats and Muslims were ignored. What the Serbs were and are up against are powerful American public-relations firms, Western intelligence agencies and biased or incompetent Western reporters.
Maybe you recall a famous picture of an emaciated man standing behind a barbed-wire fence. This was reported as a Muslim being starved in a Serb concentration camp. In fact, the man was a Serb who had been arrested by the Serbs for looting, and he was emaciated not from lack of food but from suffering with advanced tuberculosis.
Yohanan Ramati, director of the Jerusalem Institute for Western Defense, wrote of the campaign against the Serbs, "This organized anti-Serb and pro-Muslim propaganda should cause anyone believing in democracy and free speech serious concern. It recalls Adolf Hitler's propaganda against the Allies in World War II. Facts are twisted and, when inconvenient, disregarded. The selectivity in reporting and comment is far too blatant to be accidental."
Ramati quotes from an interview given on French Two television by James Harff of Finn & Rudder, the public-relations firm representing the Muslims. He boasts that their greatest achievement was to get American Jews on the side of Muslims by peddling the concentration-camp story published by a New York newspaper. This business of death camps, by the way, was later proven to be a hoax.
But here is a good lesson in how the real world works behind the scenes. Rudder Finn didn't commit the hoax. It simply took the published story to three major Jewish organizations with a suggestion that they run ads condemning it. The PR guy says that once the Jewish organizations came in on the side of the Muslims, it was easy to equate the Serbs with the Nazis.
Some of the hoaxes perpetrated on Americans include the so-called bread-line massacre, the alleged destruction of Dubrovnik, a funeral shown on television of a girl said to be a Muslim victim who was instead a Serb child killed by the Muslims and, of course, the mass-rape hoax, which has cropped up again in Kosovo.
Original allegations in the past of 60,000 rapes boiled down, after a United Nations investigation, to 126 alleged victims. Certainly in civil wars women will get raped, but the mass, organized rape story was a pure hoax.
This kind of stuff is still going on because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization campaign against Yugoslavia rests on a foundation of lies. I've seen assertions by Western journalists that "thousands of refugees have all told the same story." Use common sense. Do you really think that the handful of Western journalists over there have questioned thousands of people? If so, why do they keep using the same video of the same people so often?
And how many of these Western journalists speak Albanian or Serbo-Croatian? My guess is none. That means that they have to rely on translators who are probably being furnished by the Kosovo Liberation Army.
The refugee can be saying one thing and the translator another, and the reporter will be none the wiser. That happened in Vietnam, where translators sometimes turned out to be Viet Cong intelligence agents.
Just remember: NATO is breaking international law, and the United States has no business being involved in the internal affairs of Yugoslavia. One day we may elect a government that won't lie to us so much.